How to Lay Brick Pavers on Dirt

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Things You'll Need

  • Garden stakes

  • String

  • Spade

  • Hand tamper

  • Bubble level

  • Cement powder

  • Landscape or geotextile fabric

  • Edge restraints

  • 9-inch spikes

  • Wooden board

  • Hammer

  • Stone dust

  • Broom

Brick pavers add textural contrast and color to a landscape.

A backyard patio and a casual brick walkway are two types of surfaces you can build with brick pavers. Laying bricks on dirt is not complicated. But there are several steps involved to ensure the bricks will not shift or sink into the dirt over time. Create the layout and design for the brick surface before you begin construction and walk the intended path or sit on the patio site to check that the space will fit your needs.


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Step 1

Insert garden stakes halfway into the ground to mark the borders of your walkway or patio site, adding about 3 inches to each side for the edge restraints. Tie or wind a string around the stakes.

Step 2

Insert a spade into the ground along the borders and slide it under the grass, deep enough to remove the root systems. Continue to remove the grass and other growth from the area within the borders. Transplant the grass immediately to a bare area in your yard if needed.

Step 3

Pound a hand tamper over the exposed soil. Apply as much force as possible to compact the ground, stabilizing it for the bricks. Use a bubble level to verify the soil is level, and dig out high areas as needed. If you notice the soil is dry or sandy, mix about a 1-inch thick layer of cement powder with the soil to firm it up, and then compact it.


Step 4

Set pieces of landscaping or geotextile fabric over the soil to firm up the base, improve drainage and deter weeds from growing between the bricks. Secure the edges with spikes so they don't show.

Step 5

Arrange wood or metal edge restraints against the inner walls of the compacted soil. Fasten the restraints down with 9-inch nail spikes through the edging holes.

Step 6

Place the bricks on the dirt so they are flush against each other, following your pattern. Begin at one end or corner and work your way across. Place a wooden board across each small section of bricks, and hit the board gently with a hammer to embed the bricks in the dirt and level them with each other. Continue setting and leveling the bricks until the dirt site is filled.


Step 7

Pour stone dust over the bricks and sweep it between the small crevices. Moisten the bricks, then add more stone dust and continue brushing it between bricks until the spaces are filled. The dust will pad the bricks and act as a barrier against weeds.


references & resources

Aurora LaJambre

Aurora LaJambre is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, N.Y. For over five years she's covered topics in culture, lifestyle, travel, DIY design and green living for print and online media. Her publication credits include "WOW Women on Writing," "Six States" and She graduated from New York University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing.